Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says America's celebration of Christmas is being hijacked by "angry atheists"bent on eroding the nation's cherished religious freedoms.
"There is a war on Christmas, a war on religious freedom in America," Palin, author of the new book "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,"
told Newsmax TV.
"It's imperative we protect the heart of Christmas — and Christmas is all about good tidings and great joy — because if that's marginalized, our ability, our right to express our faith . . . leads to an erosion of much of America's great foundation."
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Palin says Americans are being subjected to an intimidation campaign by "angry atheists armed with an attorney who would want to kick out God from the public square . . .
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"An innocent Nativity
scene with a plastic baby doll representing Jesus in a hay-filled manger — that that is going to offend somebody to the degree that they can intimidate a city!"
Palin, who ran for vice president on Arizona Sen. John McCain's ticket in 2008, says part of the problem is that political correctness has run amok.
"Today, in too many respects, it's politically incorrect to acknowledge that Jesus is the reason for the season and Christ is the main part of Christmas," she said.
"Those politically correct police . . . tell us that we must boot Christ out of Christmas, [but] we're saying no, enough is enough of being intimidated and scared of that political correctness. We want to exercise our freedom of religious expression.
"And I'm not talking just Christian religion but faiths of all denominations and all religions or no religion at all, but just exercising our constitutionally protected right to express what it is as a free America that we want to express."
In the book, published by HarperCollins, Palin explains how Americans can to stand up for religious freedom, and defends what she says is the importance of preserving Jesus Christ in Christmas, whether in public displays, school concerts, or pageants.
Palin says the one arena where the celebration of Christmas is increasingly being assaulted is the nation's public school system.
"We see story after story in the news today about the ACLU sending a letter to a local school district saying, heaven forbid you sing a traditional Christmas carol that talks about Bethlehem or anything about Jesus being the reason for the season or you're going to get sued," she said.
"A lot of the school districts . . . cave because they're intimidated and they don't know . . . that the parents, the families, and the community have their rights to express their faith."
College campuses also are under attack, Palin says.
"Many faith-based groups are kicked off campus, and they can't have their Christmas tree sales," she said.
But these infringements are beginning to create a backlash.
"A lot of the students are standing up and saying, wait, let's get back to some time-tested truths in this country, and some of the time-tested truths have to do with freedom of religion," Palin said.
She recalled the pressure over Christmas decorations when, early in her political career, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, from 1996 to 2002.
"We would have our Nativity scene laid out there in a public park and hearing those threats from others saying, you know, you're not going to be able to do this for very much longer because somebody will file suit," she said.
"Just hearing that, that stiffens my spine . . . I'm saying, you know, enough is enough of backing away. We have a voice, let that voice be heard, let us stand strong."
She hopes her new book will remind readers how exceptional America is "because nowhere else are you allowed this freedom — the freedom to express faith, faith in God.
"If we were to allow our constitutional rights to be adversely affected by those who want to be politically correct, we will go the way of other nations, others states, other societies that have fallen because they don't have a strong foundation of freedom."
Palin also is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, "Going Rogue"
and "America by Heart."
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